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Smell-o-Vision

Last month, an oNote was sent across the Atlantic via the oPhone, and the recipients were treated to the scent of champagne and macarons. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 7, 2014 - 23 comments

name that smell

Smells can be very hard to identify and name, unless you are given some prompting - or you speak Jahai, the language of an indigenous group in the Malay peninsula.
posted by divabat on Jan 3, 2014 - 23 comments

the olfactory arts

Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Dec 23, 2013 - 30 comments

I love the smell of cat urine in the morning

BBC: A number of Dell users have complained that their Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks "smell of cat urine" ... Another customer, Hoteca, said: "I thought for sure one of my cats sprayed it, but there was something faulty with it so I had it replaced. The next one had the same exact issue. It's embarrassing taking it to clients because it smells so bad." Other users said they had blamed their cats for the smell. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 30, 2013 - 32 comments

GhostFood

"From a street-parked GhostFood truck, Simun and Songster and their team of trained staff will be serving a menu of three items, each of which conjures up a future dining experience for a food whose supply is currently threatened by climate change. " // "Its menu offers a curious collection of substitutes for potentially endangered foods: artificial recreations of chocolate, cod, and peanut butter." // "Pop one of the placebos--or “edible textural substitutes”--in your mouth and enjoy."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 29, 2013 - 8 comments

That's funny, Joey, I don't smell anything

"The memory is stil with me - the most sickly and sweetish smell of rancid gasoline combined with rotten water melons, with undertones of stale sweat, pig carcass, a hint of garlic, moldy oranges, russian-made aftershave and a cheap household air freshener… its a whole package, and rather sweet one – like isonitriles or cyclopentadiene but magnified thousand times. A whiff of that thing and you feel that your nose just suffered a stroke and will hopefully die and peal off so that you never smell that thing again." A young lab tech, whose absent-mindedness in the lab gets him nicknamed "“Bořivoj” (”the one who tears down the places”), meets PhePHMe, the worst-smelling compound in the world. Things happen.
posted by escabeche on May 9, 2013 - 36 comments

The clean, fresh air of Scandinavia

The BBC explore the olfactory delights of rakfisk, "trout sprinkled with salt and fermented in water for up to a year." But is it as smelly as Surströmming, fermented Baltic Herring from neighboring Sweden, or as extreme as the Icelandic Hákarl, basking shark buried in a hole and fermented for several months and tasting "similar to very strong cheese slathered in ammonia"? [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 2, 2012 - 52 comments

The rain in Spain smells mainly of dimethyl-9-decalol

The smell of earth after rain is called Petrichor, and it is caused by Geosmin, a sesquiterpenoid metabolite with the chemical formula C12H22O. Human sensitivity to geosmin is about 10 parts per trillion. (via)
posted by mrgrimm on Nov 28, 2012 - 95 comments

Evicted for smelling bad

"It seeped through the walls. It wafted up stairwells and elevator shafts. It was so bad, it rendered the other units on Nowell's floor unrentable. It was so bad, it made people dry-heave as they walked down the hallway. It was so bad, it caused the inspectors who examined Nowell's unit to gag and tear up. It was so bad, it attracted vermin. It was suffocating, overpowering, disgusting, distressing. It smelled like sour milk. Like diarrhea. Like mold." [The Man Who Smelled Too Much]
posted by vidur on Nov 8, 2012 - 87 comments

"A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness"

Why Do Old Books Smell? [SLYT]
posted by quin on Apr 23, 2012 - 22 comments

Auld Reekie

Sensory Maps is an attempt by Kate Mclean to chart the Taste, Views and Touch of Edinburgh. More details in this post on Edible Geography.
In the Victorian era, Edinburgh earned the nickname “Auld Reekie,”for its smog. Now, according to McClean’s map, it “emits a plethora of scents and smells; some particular to Edinburgh, some ubiquitous city aromas.” Among the latter are fish and chip shops and vomit, while the peculiar smell of the Macfarlan Smith opiate factory, the fishy pong of the penguin enclosure at the zoo, and the ammoniac stench of the boys’ toilets at South Morningside primary school are more city-specific, as is the way that the prevailing south-westerly winds distribute these smell combinations.
Also related, the Sheffield Smellwalk.
posted by vacapinta on Jan 7, 2012 - 9 comments

NeverSmell.com

NeverSmell.com "A community for people who can't smell and an educational experience for people who can." [more inside]
posted by pracowity on Oct 26, 2011 - 20 comments

Ooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell?

Smell is our most primitive, least understood sense. Perfume manipulates that sense, reminding us of good times past, and speaking of glamour and sophistication to those who get close. --- "Perfume", Episode 1: Something Old, Something New [pt2/pt3/p4]. Guerlain are considered by many to be the essence of Frenchness in a scent. Ancienne école comme attendez! But the house whose founder/namesake wrote his first formulae in the 19th C. face the challenges of the 21st, including the first non-Family perfumer, updating a classic, and the fall of 4th generation family perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain after his openly racist comments on French TV. We also follow the corporate entity known as Tommy Hilfigger as it tries to bottle and market the scent of Rock & Roll to the Drum 'n Bass generation [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Aug 2, 2011 - 34 comments

What did The Battle of Hastings smell like?

There's a growing movement to make sure that smells are incorporated into historical records. Historians, perfumers, and florists all want to make sure we can smell the past.
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Jul 24, 2011 - 36 comments

It Stinks

The smell of the Moon. Space. Pharaohs. Graffiti. Anger. Rain. Phantoms. Cancer. The Middle Ages.
posted by Paragon on Dec 21, 2010 - 17 comments

You probably don't even know what you like

Choice blindness occurs when subjects are unaware that the choice they made is opposite their previously stated preferences. In this recent paper, subject preferences were reversed between tastes of jam and scents of tea. Overall, only a third of all the manipulated trials were detected by subjects whose preferences had been switched by the experimenters. [more inside]
posted by scrutiny on Aug 26, 2010 - 31 comments

Where the Scent of Yesterday's Vogue Lives

Take your nose on a stroll down memory lane with vintage perfumery. The Vintage Perfume Vault features fragrance reviews and articles on perfume history. Perfume Shrine offers articles on perfumery including essays on the science of fragrance and aroma materials, interviews with perfumers and industry professionals, trend-watching. Inspiration in Perfumery profiles Henri Robert, Andre Fraysse, Ernest Beaux and Edmond Roudnitska. More about olfactory delights from 1000 Fragrances. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 6, 2009 - 24 comments

Aphrodisiology

Video of Dictyophora Indusiata. "When they find it, they sniff it. The scent of this mushroom causes sexual arousal, often to the point of orgasm." ^ Other interesting articles available from Aphrodisiology: List of Aphrodisiacs l Visual Stimuli l Pheromones & Perfumes. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 2, 2008 - 49 comments

Love at first smell, and what stinky t-shirts tell us about attraction

"There's no Brad Pitt of smell," Herz says. "Body odor is an external manifestation of the immune system, and the smells we think are attractive come from the people who are most genetically compatible with us." [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Jan 31, 2008 - 41 comments

See It, Hear It, Smell It

Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World. From the main page, click on the various articles to access a larger left-side menu, with articles including Illusions Reveal The Brain's Assumptions, A Hot Spot in the Brain's Motion Pathway, The Value of Having Two Ears, The Memory of Smells and much more.
posted by amyms on Dec 5, 2007 - 2 comments

fear stinks

A mouse has been genetically engineered to no longer fear cats. Surely this is now only a matter of time. [more inside]
posted by leibniz on Nov 8, 2007 - 29 comments

I smell a rat|dog|cat|mouse

Do You Taste What I Taste? - The first of Slate's 3-part series on the physiology of taste [parts 2, 3]
posted by Gyan on Jul 15, 2007 - 13 comments

subway smell map

Like old cheese and vomit, mixed with dog food ... Halitosis and aged cabbage ... Rank Swiss cheese ... Sour milk ... Pee in the air every day ... Like an open corpse ... Like a musty homeless person decomposing in musky homeless person urine ... Caramel with a slight undertone of mildly rank underarm ... Rodenticide. It's Gawker's New York City Subway Smell Map.
posted by Urban Hermit on Sep 26, 2006 - 17 comments

I Love the Smell of Sim-Napalm in the Morning

The Smell of War -- the Institute for Creative Technologies preps Quake-happy teens to become first-person shooters in the non-virtual war on terror. Now in Odorama.
posted by digaman on Jul 25, 2006 - 22 comments

A f(eces) only a mother could love

My shit doesn't stink. I'm serious—my mother told me so. So there. Abstract of study published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, "My baby doesn't smell as bad as yours: The plasticity of disgust", found here.
posted by emelenjr on Jul 12, 2006 - 28 comments

The Emperor's New Blog

Luca Turin on perfume and other things. The Emperor of Scent and CTO of Flexitral reviews perfumes and waxes philosophical in his blog. Also available online: Parfums: le guide (PDF, French).
posted by greatgefilte on Nov 5, 2005 - 6 comments

good smell perplexes new yorkers

Good smell perplexes New Yorkers How odd the city smelled sweet, like maple syrup, and all over: up in Harlem, downtown, in Astoria, Park Slope, other parts of Brooklyn. And what was it? A breakout of MSUD and public urination? Or something more fortean or more sinister?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat on Oct 28, 2005 - 120 comments

The Aroma of Terror

Is the aroma of burning flesh putting you off your lunch? An Israeli company called Patus is marketing a new product called Odor Screen to EMTs, soldiers, cops, and medical staff who work at the sites of suicide bombings, combat zones, and other modern catastrophes. The Proustian link between smell and vivid memories is well established, and by displacing traumatic odors with a "calming vanilla aroma," the company hopes to lessen PTSD in first responders, and that's no laughing matter. [via medgadget]
posted by digaman on Feb 9, 2005 - 26 comments

They had to kill a good thing, didn't they?

Zicam is an amazing intranasal gel that shortens the duration and reduces the severity of the common cold. I've had four colds so far this fall (I've got a toddler) and all of them disappeared within a day. Problem is, now reports are saying that if you get this stuff too far up your nose, you could lose your sense of smell. Damn!
posted by fungible on Nov 9, 2004 - 15 comments

A clue! A clue!

What does blue smell like? A novel theory contends that humans smell the frequency of a molecule, rather than shape (full study, pdf). In fact, there is no evidence to support either theory, leading to the question, how do humans smell? Inspired by bonehead.
posted by grateful on Jul 12, 2004 - 31 comments

Starving Bacteria of Iron Helps Wipe Out Body Odor.

Starving Bacteria of Iron Helps Wipe Out Body Odor. Scientists find that blocking bacteria's supply of iron works better at suppressing B.O. than the traditional deodorant method off killing off the bacteria with ethanol.
"expert odor assessors who sniffed the participants' armpits found that the experimental combination worked better than ethanol at reducing odor, with longer-lasting effects."
Just when you think *your* job stinks. Now, when will they come up with a way to suppress the Indian cooking odor in my apartment building?
posted by Tubes on May 21, 2002 - 16 comments

It is said that on a hot day, you can still smell traces of molasses in the city.
I had never heard about this until I met someone from Boston. As they say, wicked....
posted by machaus on Jul 26, 2001 - 7 comments

Smellovision

Smellovision ("Digiscents") demoed at Comdex. Scan down to the fourth paragraph for an informal review.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Nov 16, 2000 - 15 comments

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